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03 July 2006

Moving Michigan Forward - MI-01

Whenever I try to talk about Senator Feingold as a presidential candidate, the most common complaint I hear is that I should be focused on the 2006 midterms rather than waste my time with the next election. I disagree completely, because it's possible to care about more than one race at a time, from my town's mayor to my country's president.

With that in mind, I would like to take the coming days to briefly cover the Michigan races which are helping to shape the future of this country. This year is looking like an excellent year for Democrats across the country, and in Michigan, the quality of challengers against Republican incumbents is incredible.

But today, let's begin with an incumbent that's been in Congress for 14 years, yet maintains the contact and respect for his constituents that we admire in Russ Feingold. Let's start with Congressman Bart Stupak.

Congressman Stupak represents Michigan's 1st district, which is not an easy task. With the exceptions of the at-large districts of Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, and the Dakotas, the district is the largest in the country, covering the entire Upper Penninsula and a big chunk of the Lower Penninsula. (map)

He is not a "liberal Democrat," and there are plenty of times when left-wing progressives like myself disagree with Stupak. He's pro-life, for one thing, and is a strong defender of the Second Amendment, a position I personally am not comfortable with. But I respect him more than I respect a lot of members of Congress.

Bart Stupak, moderate Democrat, is, more than anything, a representative of the people of northern Michigan. He's an advocate for the things that matter to his constituents, defending Michigan's natural resources from excessive exploitation and protecting the environment. He's a former police officer, and injuries received on duty are what led him to the law and, eventually, politics. Because of this, he's a leading Democrat in Homeland Security, and is known for his "sense of justice and fair play, knowledge of the House and its procedures, and an ability to rise above partisanship" (source).

This year, he faces Republican Don Hooper, and should be elected to his 8th term easily. But where many incumbents would become overconfident, he remains as humble and loyal to the voters as ever. From his campaign website:
As always, I pledge to continue to work hard for my constituents regardless of party affiliation and will remain as fiercely Independent as ever when it comes to what is in the best interest of the First Congressional District, the State of Michigan, and our Nation.
Fiercely independent.

Congressman Bart Stupak - US House of Representatives
Bart Stupak for Congress
MI-01 on Michigan Liberal
Jack Lessenberry's Interview and Commentary
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